Ticket to Denmark

Auntie’s said it before, and, apparently, it did no good. Real scientists don’t use e-mail! It’s a safe bet that beleaguered professor Phil Jones, director of the University of East Anglia’s widely respected Climatic Research Unit, now wishes he’d heeded Auntie’s advice. Jones lies at the center of the controversy regarding thousands of university e-mails anonymously hacked from the CRU’s servers and released to the public. In one of the e-mails, Jones describes a math “trick” used to “hide the decline” in global temperatures. In another, he celebrates the death of a global-warming skeptic. Naturally, despite the personal and/or out-of-context nature of the e-mails, the climate-change skeptics at The Wall Street Journal and Fox News as well as Republican Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe have gleefully cited them as conclusive evidence that man-caused global warming is a hoax. Just in time for Copenhagen!

The timing of the leaked e-mails couldn’t have been worse, or better, depending upon your perspective. It’s going to be pretty hard for the public to digest the latest worst-case scenario presented this week in Copenhagen, Denmark, at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change—sea-level rise of more than a meter by 2100—with one-man truth squads such as Inhofe, Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity running around loose on the premises. True, President Barack Obama will pledge a 17 percent cut in U.S. carbon emissions by 2020 at the conference, giving climate change the official presidential imprimatur. But Auntie has a sneaking suspicion we’ll be hearing a lot more about those e-mails than any real progress that was made in Copenhagen.

Auntie had planned to travel to Copenhagen for the conference, since it is also the place Danish climate-change denier Bjørn Lomborg calls home. Auntie admits to having a soft spot for the hunky, blond-tressed Lomborg, despite the fact that Media Matters for America recently raked him over the coals for claiming that reducing carbon emissions will lead to increases in water scarcity in a Wall Street Journal editorial. With visions of towheaded, Teutonic twins in the nursery, Auntie was just about to purchase her ticket when a dear friend informed her that while the great Dane may be a climate-change denier, he’s definitely well out of the closet where other matters are concerned. That won’t stop him from showing up on Fox.